Planting and Harvesting Vegetables and Squirrels

(Question)

This is my first season in Toronto and I am about to start a small vegetable garden. I have sown beets and I am about to plant zucchini squash starters but I am worried about the squirrels. They seem to keep digging wholes in the freshly prepared dirt and are destroying the beet seedlings. Are they going to dig out the zucchini plants? What would be the best low key solution to grow some vegetables without having them destroyed or eaten by squirrels?
Thank you for your help!

 

(Answer)

Squirrels are an ongoing problem for Toronto gardeners. They are notorious for digging up and eating tulip bulbs but they also dig holes in lawns and in your case vegetable gardens in their relentless efforts to hunt for seeds and bury food. The Canadian Wildlife Federation has a number of suggestions for protecting your garden from marauding squirrels:

Place chicken wire over freshly planted seeds to prevent squirrels from digging them up.   I’ve used chicken wire very successfully over tulip bulbs. I make 4 inch U-shaped pins out of clothes hanger wire to push into the ground at the corners of the chicken wire to keep the wire in place and prevent the squirrels from crawling under. You can also just weigh the corners down with rocks. You’ll need to remove the wire once the plants are actively growing.

Place dog hair in small bags made out of onion bag net. Attach to small sticks and place around the garden. This keeps a predator scent in your garden which scares off the squirrels.

Finally, squirrels dislike alliums, members of the onion family. So planting some onions or chives among your other vegetables may prove an effective deterrent.

Good luck with your new garden.